Community theater is a great way to grow the next generation of theater-goers. Families may be reluctant to shell out in the neighborhood of $100 per ticket on professional productions – if little Josh or Emily can’t make it through the whole show, that’s quite an investment down the drain! On the other hand, most community theater tickets run in the $15 to $20 range, so not such a loss if it becomes necessary to leave at intermission. Many local theaters perform old standards that are entirely suitable for children, and a few even have special children’s shows (Kensington Arts Theater has KAT Second Stage [http://creativedojo.com/KAT/2nd-stage.shtml]). For the 2010 holiday season, the Maryland Youth Ballet performed a kid-friendly version of the Nutcracker, called Mini-Nut. The performance ran approximately an hour and was held in the middle of the day, perfect for your little girl or boy who would love to see the Sugar Plum Fairy or fighting mice but can’t quite sit through the whole Nutcracker (and let’s face it, it’s one loooong ballet!). MYB has a strong reputation as a youth ballet and places many of its students in regional and national professional ballet companies, so although I have not seen them perform, I imagine the quality of their performances is probably fairly high. Watch their page (http://www.marylandyouthballet.org/) later in the year to see if they run mini-Nut again.
As I do not have children myself, my knowledge of offerings for children in the area is not extensive. But a quick Googling found some interesting options. Bethesda’s Imagination Stage (http://www.imaginationstage.org/) offers classes for kids and performances with ticket prices generally under $25. Glen Echo’s Adventure Theater (http://www.adventuretheatre.org/) also has workshops for kids and reasonably-priced, kid-friendly performances. At Wolf Trap, the Theatre-in-the-Woods summer festival (http://www.wolftrap.org/Education/Childrens_Theatre-in-the-Woods.aspx) has 70 different performances (dance, music, plays, and puppets!) running from late June through early August. These performances take place early in the day, 10 am and 11:15, Tuesdays through Saturdays. At this time, they are running a special – $8 total for both that day’s performances.
So when the kids are out of school and you’re looking for something new and exciting to do, check out some live theater!